The aims of Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann are: to promote literature in and about Ireland both nationally and internationally; to defend worldwide the right of writers to responsible freedom of expression as defined in the PEN Charter; and to foster international understanding through the appreciation of literature.
In 2019, the Freedom to Write Campaign was asked to take over running Irish PEN by the outgoing committee. We agreed to set up a steering committee to set up a new organization, Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann, with new structures but still adhering to the principles of PEN International and the PEN Charter, on which the Freedom to Write Campaign was based.
Over the intervening months we have set up a Company Limited by Guarantee, a prerequisite for applying for Charitable Status. We have continued to be active in support of writers who are at risk or in prison because of their writing and we have fostered links with other writers’ associations in Ireland such as the Irish Writers’ Union, Aontas na Scríbhneoirí Gaeilge and the Letters With Wings project. We are also in close and continuing contact with our colleagues in PEN Centres in England, Scotland and Wales. A Newsletter will go out to current Members in November with more details.
The new Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann will be launched at an online Zoom event to mark the Day of the Imprisoned Writer: Sunday, 15th November at 7:00 pm (details tbc)